back to article Biden lines up $42.5B for US broadband boost

On Monday the Biden administration announced a plan to divide up $42.5 billion for improvements to US broadband networks - and everyone from the largest states to the smallest territory is getting a piece of the pie. The funding comes via the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program as part of the $1.2 trillion …

  1. David 132 Silver badge

    “Whether BEAD will be vulnerable to the same failures remains to be seen”

    Ooh, ooh… I know this one!

    It’ll involve lots of money firehosed to the usual suspects - Comcast, AT&T et al… who will, if they’re feeling scrutinized, make a desultory and token effort to give 1 house in each underserved zip code high-speed access. Then they will argue with a straight face that they’ve got 100% coverage in that area - job done.

    And in a couple of years they’ll be back asking for more money to do the job properly this time, honest, just like we claimed we did last time and the time before that… and the FCC and the local pols will all suffer their usual amnesia and forget that they’re being asked to pay yet again for the same thing.

    Meanwhile, I’m in the heart of Oregon’s tech area, adjacent to 3 metro areas, and have to make do with a 16Mbit microwave relay link across the valley, for a very reasonable (!) $125/month. Sigh.

    1. Kapsalon

      Re: “Whether BEAD will be vulnerable to the same failures remains to be seen”

      Well, there is this Internet provider that works from space.

      Just tested an Oregon address on their site:


      Campus Cir, Klamath Falls, OR 97601, USA

      Starlink is currently available in your area!

      No contracts. Try for 30 days and, if not satisfied, return the hardware for a full refund. Shipping times are currently estimated to be 1-2 weeks.

      Costs $120/month, so cheaper and a lot faster. Just have to pay for the dish.

      1. low_resolution_foxxes

        Re: “Whether BEAD will be vulnerable to the same failures remains to be seen”

        Amusing, in the urban areas in England you can typically get an 80meg DL service for £25pm ($32).

        Sure, you can go all fancy, but even if you choose premium services you can get 1000 meg FTTP for ~ £30-45pm ($38-57).

        We have ~73% gigabit internet coverage in Britain now. It's getting pretty sweet and rolling out fast

    2. blackcat Silver badge

      Re: “Whether BEAD will be vulnerable to the same failures remains to be seen”

      As a brit the price my inlaws pay for home internet and mobile phones is just insane! But then the US is a country where the existing service providers can lobby government to block any potential new competition. I recall a town planning to roll out a community fibre network and got blocked by <very big corp> as it would have impacted their profits. Same thing happens with hospitals too.

      This isn't capitalism.

      We're very much in the era of companies sitting on their hands waiting for govt handouts. Yeah we COULD do that and improve things for our customers BUT it would cost us profits so we won't.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: “Whether BEAD will be vulnerable to the same failures remains to be seen”

      I live outside the suburbs of Oregon's tech area and had that local wireless internet provider I think you are referring to and had to switch to Starlink because trees grew up between my house and the only antenna in my area. Starlink has been great for a rural tech workwer like me, supports all my streaming and wfh needs. Decided to upgrade to business service and waiting on the upgraded kit now.

  2. Bascheew

    I'm in the rural mountains of North Carolina and I have access to 3 fiber carriers, 1 coax/cable, and one P2P wifi option. Plus whatever LTE options are available. And they're all reasonably priced.

    Everytime I see articles like this I wonder how my town got so lucky.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Check to see if the NSA has an office in your area.

    2. gweedo

      I'm in one of the largest cities in the USA and we have only one real high-speed option in my area (cable), no fiber... and I pay a ton for 300mb down. My in-laws live way out in a rural community with 150 people and they have gigabit fiber (multiple sources) for far less than I'm paying. I don't think urban communities are where the problems are honestly.

      1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker

        "I don't think urban communities are where the problems are honestly."

        It's relatively easy to add services in urban areas, running new lines in existing utility ducts or even storm drains / sewers.

        Rural? Plenty of room to add more poles and wires.

        Suburban America is the problem. Residents want more choices but don't want their beautiful neighborhoods -- especially their own lawns -- torn up. Plus, as others have commented, the power-gone-to-their-heads municipal governments help enforce certain monopolies.

        Personally, as I've said many times, I can have 1 coax or 1 copper twisted-pair provider. I've maxed out the latter at a decent-enough price and won't touch the former due to their shoddy business practices (especially bait-and-switch). I want the copper company to bring the fiber, but I can't have it until everyone around me does, and the company won't make any promises.

    3. DS999 Silver badge

      I wonder how my town got so lucky

      As far as I can tell all it just seems to take one provider to offer decent high speed broadband, then others swoop in to compete. But for some reason where there are no good options, no one wants to be the first to invest in bringing in high speed broadband - I guess everyone serving that area is happy they are getting paid without having to make any new investment.

      Ideally this money would be going toward the areas that don't have decent high speed, but from how these programs have worked in the past I wouldn't be surprised if some of the money goes to your town and you end up with more options while the guy above in a tech area in Oregon continues to have no good options.

  3. EnviableOne

    Ah the venerable Bede

    perhaps a mistake of locality, but the ancient English monk came straight to mind when reading this sentence:

    "Whether BEAD will be vulnerable" ...

    the monk famed for his first-ever history of England would be amazed by even the speed his work would carry under the current system, but then again he died in 735AD

  4. Marty McFly Silver badge

    Government created the problem for government to solve

    Here is the issue... States like Oregon require "like for like" infrastructure improvements.

    That is fine & dandy if there are copper wires hanging on poles. Ziptie on some fiber and the whiz-bang the improvement is done.

    Copper wires buried in the ground...not so much. It isn't the 1950's any more. Telco's aren't just permitted to dig a trench, toss in some cable, and push the dirt back in. Far from it. Government requires all sorts of permits for disturbing the earth. There might be a sacred plant of endangered gopher, so there will need to be an environmental study before the first shovel touches the ground.

    That is why we will NEVER see wired high speed Internet service in rural America. This money doled out by the current administration will just go to feed the bureaucratic permit process and very little will be spent on actual infrastructure. This is the government giving itself a handout.

    (This post sent via Starlink)

    1. f4rmb0y

      Re: Government created the problem for government to solve

      Check out the electric/telco cooperative in Curry County, Oregon. They are running fiber along all the power lines to reach all their rural customers.

  5. I miss PL/1

    It's only money

    This is nowhere near like the rural electrification program of FDR. Reliable electricity is a necessity.

    Clean water is a necessity. Gas service is a necessity. Telephone service is a necessity. Internet service to your home isn't. It's along the same lines as cable TV. Especially when everyone has a cell phone. I maintain cell service is a necessity over Internet so they should focus on being cell service everywhere. If you are stranded in the high desert without cell service how will high speed internet to your home help you?

    Just another Brandon vote buying scheme.

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